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Geddy Lee: Yes are the only band I’ve lined up all night to see

Geddy Lee
Geddy Lee (Image credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo - Getty)

Rush’s Geddy Lee has recalled queuing all night with Alex Lifeson to get tickets to see Yes when the band came to Toronto for the first time.

Lee was speaking to Rolling Stone about his 10 favourite bassists and named the late Chris Squire, when he recalled the night in question, saying that the effort was worth it as they managed to book seats two rows from the front.

Lee says: “A friend of mine and I, we used to skip school all the time when we were in junior high school, and we would go to his house. We were both just nuts about music, and he would turn me on to a lot of different things that I’d never heard – a lot of progressive-rock bands that I didn’t know of. 

“So one day, we skipped class and went to his house, and he put on this record. It was Yes' Time And A Word and I was just blown away by the sound of Chris Squire’s bass.

“It reminded me of John Entwistle in that aggressive way, but the music was much more adventurous and much more layered. The song I first heard was No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed. For a young kid bass player, it was amazing. I mean, it blew me away. And for the next umpteen years, I became a die-hard Yes fan, and a die-hard Chris Squire fan.”

Lee adds: “The first time Yes came to Toronto, my friend Oscar and Alex and myself, we lined up at Maple Leaf Gardens all night to get tickets, and we ended up with second-row seats. I’ll never forget that. 

“We drove out. I think it was that same week, they were also playing in Kitchener, Ontario, and saw them out there as well. They still are the only band I’ve lined up all night to see!”

In 2017, Lee got the chance to play with Yes at their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction, with Lee joining Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Alan White and Trevor Rabin to play Roundabout in place of Squire who died in 2015.

Last month, Lee shared a picture from his teenage garage band days and revealed he hunted “high and low” for the bass he’s playing in the image while compiling his Big Beautiful Book Of Bass – but couldn’t get his hands on it.

News editor for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. He’s been at the news desk since 2014 and when not writing, he can be found watching baseball and visiting whisky distilleries.